When I conduct sales training seminars, I nearly always discuss listening skills, because effective listening is vital for improving your sales. And one of the most important elements of what I call “Dynamic Listening” is taking notes. Because note-taking helps you in several ways:
1. It provides visual proof you’re listening.
Prospects want to be heard and understood. And too many salespeople don’t listen well. When you’re jotting down notes, they know you’re paying attention.
2. It makes you look professional.
What kinds of people regularly take notes in their job? Doctors, lawyers, accountants, therapists—in other words, professionals. Professionals take notes. You take notes, therefore, you’re a professional.
3. You have a written record to refer to.
You can remind yourself of important names, numbers, dates and other facts long after the initial conversation, making your follow-up easier and more thorough.
4. It helps prevent the “I didn’t say that” tactic.
When prospects know you’re writing down what they’re saying, they’re less likely to claim they didn’t say something later on. That keeps the process honest, making your job easier.
5. It improves your memory.
The physical act of writing enhances the brain’s ability to process, store and recall information at hand. As you get more practiced in note-taking, you’ll be amazed at how much more you remember.
6. Your notes can spark additional questions or ideas.
Reviewing your notes after the conversation can enable you to make connections you previously missed and trigger questions that didn’t occur to you at the time. This gives you a great reason to follow up later with meaningful questions and valuable ideas.
7. It makes prospects feel important.
When you take notes, prospects often infer that if you’re writing it down, what they’re saying must be important. Which causes them feel important.
8. It shows you’re human.
With a few remarkable exceptions, none of us have perfect memories. The act of taking notes is a physical acknowledgement of this fact, making you come across as more human. This in turn helps your prospect to feel more comfortable. And the more comfortable they are, the closer they are to buying.
So grab a notepad or a tablet—I recommend a notepad, so your prospects know you’re not really checking your e-mail or updating your Facebook status—and start taking notes whenever you talk with a prospect. It’s a simple act that can make a big difference in your sales.